Daniel Ricciardo will return to Red Bull Racing next season as the team’s third driver – a move that keeps the popular Australian in Formula 1 but not on the grid.
Red Bull finalized the hiring on Wednesday night (AEDT) after Ricciardo and the team both said they had formalized the role at last weekend’s season finale.
As the third driver, Ricciardo will help Red Bull with testing and simulator work, as well as commercial activities.
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Double world champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are the two drivers of the team.
“It’s great to welcome Daniel back to the Red Bull family. He has great talent and such a bright personality. I know the whole factory is very excited to welcome him home,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said.
Horner says Ricciardo’s role will “give us a chance to diversify, help develop the car, help the team with the experience and knowledge needed to succeed in F1”.
“We are delighted to be working with Daniel again and look forward to all that he will bring to the team in 2023.”
Ricciardo first joined Red Bull in 2014, finishing third in the world championship and scoring the first three of his eight career wins. He won in 2016, the year he was the only driver to finish all 21 races on the grid, and in 2017, a race where he had nine podium finishes.
Ricciardo won two of the first six races to open the 2018 season, including victory in Monaco.
He then left the team to drive for Renault for two seasons before spending the last two years at McLaren.
Ricciardo had a driver option at McLaren for 2023, but was bought out by the team after finishing eighth in 2021 and 11th this year.
He has repeatedly stated that he is willing to sit out a season in order to stay in contention for a good seat on the Formula 1 grid, rather than go for a ride with a team in the background or move to another series.
“I already have a lot of good memories of my time here,” Ricciardo said of Red Bull.
“For me personally, the ability to contribute to and be surrounded by the best team in Formula 1 is very attractive, while also giving me some time to recharge and focus.”
Red Bull won both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles this season.
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